Gardening Basics: Using Science to Grow Better Plants

Bryce Lane, Alumni Distinguished Undergraduate Professor Emeritus and Lecturer Emeritus, Department of Horticultural Science, NC State University

Mondays, August 2 through September 20, 2021 – 6:30 pm–8:30 pm

Whether you are new to gardening, a seasoned gardener, or new to this area, this eight-week gardening class will help you be more successful in all your gardening endeavors! By understanding plant classification, growth, soils, and reproduction we will learn how to be better at propagation, plant selection, planting, pruning, fertilizing, and pest management. This practical, dynamic gardening course will equip you to handle most all of your gardening challenges.

Bryce Lane's garden

Tentative Syllabus

August 2: Introduction and Plant Classification

Course introduction followed by a session on how plants are classified and named, and why it is important to embrace it as a gardening enthusiast. We will learn about genus, species, varieties, and cultivars, with many examples coming from stories originating right here at the JCRA.

August 9: Plant Nomenclature and Plant Growth and Development

By understanding how plants get their names, we as gardeners can do a better job selecting and using plants in our own gardens. Then we will enter into a session learning about the processes of plant growth and how by understanding these processes we can solve many common garden problems, and answer numerous gardening questions.

August 16: Plant Growth and Development

We will continue our discussion of plant growth and development as it relates to plant selection, placement, and general garden maintenance.

August 23: Plant Reproduction

We will learn the basics of plant reproduction, which will enable us to discuss propagating plants from seed, cuttings, layerage and division.

August 30: Soils and Bed Preparation

A session on basic soil chemistry, physics, and biology for the purpose of creating better garden soils that spell success in the life of our plants. We will also learn about soil building, bed preparation, and composting.

September 6: Planting and Transplanting

This session is all about gardening best practices for planting, transplanting, container planting, and waterwise gardening. How do we plant in places where the soil is poor, or where we have no soil at all.

September 13: Pruning and Fertilizing

In this session we learn why you should prune, when you should prune, and how you should prune. We will identify the best tools, techniques, and strategies for pruning. Then we will do the same for fertilizing plants—including a discussion on organics verses synthetics.

September 20: Pest Management and Wrap-up

A full discussion on all the best pest management practices for the gardener. Believe it or not, you have numerous choices in the way you manage pests. Then we will sadly wrap up loose ends and bid one another farewell.…

Bryce Lane

About Bryce Lane

Bryce grew up in Western Massachusetts, where he discovered his passion for plants and telling others about them, working at a local garden center through high school and college. After earning his B.S. in plant science from the University of Massachusetts in 1979 and an M.S. in horticulture from The Ohio State University in 1981, he came to the Department of Horticultural Science at NC State University as a lecturer, teaching in both the two-year and four-year programs. He taught plant identification at NC State for 18 years. In 1987, he became the undergraduate coordinator, serving the department in that capacity for 26 years. Bryce taught both large and small courses, for majors and non-majors. In the past 30+ years, he has taught more than 20,000 students. He has received numerous local, regional, and national teaching awards and is frequently invited to speak at many workshops and symposia, about teaching as well as horticulture and gardening. He hosted and produced a three-time, Emmy winning UNC TV public television show called "In the Garden With Bryce Lane" which was on the air for 11 seasons. Most importantly, he has been married for 37 years to his high school sweetheart, has two happily married daughters, and six incredible grandchildren.

Bryce retired from NC State in January 2014, and is now spending more time with his family, pursuing the next chapter in his public speaking career, and teaching part time at NC State and the JC Raulston Arboretum. He served as interim director of the JC Raulston Arboretum from July through November 2014. He is an avid gardener who has gardened in the same spot for more than 30 years!

$200.00 for members, $250.00 for nonmembers. Note to nonmembers: instead of paying $50.00 more for the program, become a member for $50.00 instead.
Advance registration is required. Please register online using our registration e-store (in-person program and online program). Registration is limited and is considered complete when payment is received.
Program cancellations can be made up to two weeks before the program's start date. A 15% cancellation fee applies.
Online and in person at the JC Raulston Arboretum, 4415 Beryl Road, Raleigh, NC 27606.
Need directions? Click here.
Free parking is available at the JC Raulston Arboretum and along Beryl Road.
Please write for more information about this program.